Dr. Lynette Charity’s post landed right where it counts:
“I took a break from medicine,” she announced.
Because Dr. Charity shared a vulnerable piece of herself with me, along with the others who follow her, we connected; even if just virtually, having experienced a similar a-ha moment in our mirrored time away.
I’m thankful for what she added because healthcare is so opaque, and within it, its workers, who typically keep their emotions opaque, too (can you blame us? We’re “supposed” to be the strong leaders and never, ever cave!). Sharing herself vulnerably in this way, allows many of you to see – & hopefully to truly feel – that physicians are humans, too.
The content of her words take me back to my own break from clinical medicine, years back.
I, too, discovered so much I didn’t know. And I thank that time away for having enriched my life, and shaped me into who I am today: a creator, a consultant, and an innovator, confident with what I know (and likewise, what I don’t!)
Here’s the little known fact I’d love to hit home: that so much investment – time, energy, financial, and even missed opportunities – goes into successfully becoming a doctor, and in the process, everything else -including our own healthy state of beings – somehow falls by the way-side. In committing our life to serving others, we forget to serve ourself.
It’s simply incredible just how much we can discover about ourselves when we step away from it all and allow ourselves breathing room to explore.
I was reminded of it from the interesting discussion stemming from Dr. Charity’s share:
Again, truer words have not been spoken.
Because there’s more to life than just our medical-giving beings.
I retorted, “aloud” (but really, on the thread in which we wrote this):
“100%. It’s interesting that this wasn’t really as much of an issue in the past. Or was it? I have my own opinions about this, but am fascinated with how many docs are looking for ‘other’ sources of income, happiness, etc.”
To which my LinkedIn buddy/colleague said (and this blew my mind):
Here’s what her response forced me to ponder (and we should really do studies on this to examine whether there’s a true correlation. Because wouldn’t it be great to identify one and then target a solution based on specifics identified?):
Are we ‘predisposed’ for dissatisfaction in that those of us who have other interests feel stifled at having to ‘commit’ our everything to medicine to begin with?
I know what a few of you thought, in an explosive episode of “Conversations with Shem,” season 1, between physician-guests Torie Sepah and Louis Profeta. Take a look at the footage, or listen to the episode here. And then don’t forget to share your own thoughts with me.
Bottom line, this is needed conversation as we re-examine the role of “physician” in the 21st century: should we support stepping away from medicine to enrich our lives? Will it make us happier? Are we not picking the right candidates for the job? Or are burnout numbers truly reflective of a profession that’s becoming antiquated, as it stands, and in need of a revision?
Do more of us need to pull a “Lynette 2.0”?